Indonesian cement consumption fell 4.2 per cent in January from a year earlier, industry data showed on Monday, due mainly to lower demand in areas outside the main island of Java. Southeast Asia’s largest economy consumed 2.24Mt of cement last month, down from 2.34Mt in the first month of 2004, according to data from the country’s largest cement maker, PT Semen Gresik Tbk. Gresik, 25.5 percent controlled by Mexico’s Cemex, sold 966,927t of cement in the domestic market in January, 9 per cent lower than in the same month in 2004.
Chandra Pasaribu, an analyst at G.K. Goh brokerage, said January’s dip did not necessarily signal a bad year ahead. Last year, Indonesia consumed 30.04 million tonnes, up from 27.54Mt in 2003. "I think we have to be careful in translating this figure. January is a very volatile month. I’m not sure this is going to be a bad year for the sector," Pasaribu told Reuters. Analysts had expected strong demand for cement from massive infrastructure projects starting this year.